the Christmas question
I watch with fascination and some apprehension as preparations for yet another Christmas begin. Boxes I know to be filled with glitter and sparkle are lifted down from their resting place in the attic. The accumulated dust of eleven months is brushed away. The old fashioned stand is located and we begin our annual discussion…
“Where shall we put the tree?”
Deep inside myself a seed of discontent is sprouting. How can a year have passed so quickly? And what a year it has been! I’m not looking forward to this! How can I muster the enthusiasm needed to carry off our traditional celebration with grace and good cheer. We laugh about it sometimes, but the old cliché “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy” holds true here and I’m not certain I want to bear the responsibility of Happy Holidays for All.
Without warning, the ghost of “Christmas Past” hovers above me.
I’m flying backward through the years. I feel: exhaustion from putting way too much energy into a two-day celebration; incredible tension as certain relatives arrive for dinner; panic because we’ve gone up to our ears in debt buying what everyone “wanted” (I hear my daddy’s voice… “for a little tyke, you’ve got the biggest wanter I’ve ever seen!”), remorse over an inexplicable confrontation. Another memory—another Christmas past. I see us gathered on Christmas morning, opening carefully wrapped boxes, each containing only a slip of paper with a word or two printed on it. No money for gifts… we’ve decided to wrap reminders of the gifts we’d been given – good health – a lovely home – loving friends – enough food. There were more gifts to unwrap that year than the year we ended up in debt!
…”and put the tree in front of the window.”
I’m snapped back into the moment. The decision of where to put the tree still going on around me, I am transformed. The spirit of Christmas has touched me… again. This year – this December – this season of Advent must be a season of contemplation and peace. We have been given so much!
“Yes! Let’s put the tree in front of the window” I reply, “and light it with a million white fairy lights so the entire neighborhood can see and enjoy it with us! Christmas is more about feelings than anything else, isn’t it?”
Happy Holidays to All.